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COVID-19 in South Asia: State practices, responses and the experiences of persons with disability within the region

MEHROTRA, Nilika
SOLDATIC, Karen
2021

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An introduction into South Asia looking at the pandemic who people are struggling with in 2020. The DGS has aimed to first identify and acknowledge the diversity of disability experiences in the Global South and, second, make these experiences readily available and accessible to disabled people and their communities in the regions where the contributors themselves are from. In fact, in undertaking this special issue as editors, we would like to recognize the incredible persistence of our contributors to continue to work with us throughout the development of the papers, alongside acknowledging the many original contributors who were also unable to accept our invitation to participate because of the covid19 pandemic impacts upon every aspect of their lives.

Mental health of LGBTIQ+ people in India during the COVID 19 pandemic: risks, access, lessons

TENNETI, Suchaita
2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated containment measures have resulted in a mental health crisis globally. Marginalised populations have been disproportionately affected during the pandemic with an aggravation of existing inequalities, and this has increased the risks to their mental health. The LGBTIQ+ population is among those marginalised whose lives have been rendered even more precarious than before by the pandemic. This paper explores some of the main risks to the mental health of LGBTIQ+ people in India, the advice being given to them by mental health professionals and activists, and need for queer revisionings of uncertainty, the concept of a future and individualism.

Bullying among primary school-aged students: which factors could strengthen their tendency towards resilience?

GANOTZ, Tanja
SCHWAB, Susanne
LEHOFER, Mike
2021

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Resilience is the capacity to cope successfully with various threats. This paper aims to adapt the Resilience-Scale of Schumacher et al. (2004. Die Resilienzskala – ein Fragebogen zur Erfassung der psychischen Widerstandsfähigkeit als Personmerkmal. [The Resilience Scale – A Questionnaire to Measure Mental Resilience as a Personal Characteristic]. Zentrum für Klinische Psychologie, Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie) to measure the tendency of being resilient even before a threat occurs. Since primary school students are exposed to various threats at school, 535 4th grade students of Austrian primary schools were surveyed for the study. The reliability of the short-scale was found to be acceptable (Cronbach’s α = .66), and the tendency towards resilience can be explained by the students’ perception of their social inclusion in class (F (1,252) = 15.11, p<.05) and the relationship with their mothers (F (2, 251) = 10, 02, p<.05). The stability of the students’ tendency of being resilient was only moderate. A similar correlation between resilience and school-wellbeing for victims and non-victims of bullying can be reported. Future studies should focus more on primary school students’ resilience and related protective factors.

Silver linings. Mental health & wellbeing in the COVID era. Global Protection Update Feb 2021

GLOBAL PROTECTION CLUSTER
February 2021

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The Global Protection Cluster is committed to ensuring that Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) response is right across all humanitarian sectors. In this update (December 2020 - February 2021), emerging protection trends are identified and key country news is reported. The "IN FOCUS section" is about "Tackling Trauma and Prioritizing Mental Wellbeing to Deliver Protection Outcomes". The situation in Palestine, South Sudan and Ukraine is highlighted.

Cognitive behaviour therapy-based early intervention and prevention programme for anxiety in South African children with visual impairments

VISAGIE, Lisa
LOXTON, Helene
SWARTZ, Leslie
STALLARD, Paul
2021

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Background: Anxiety is the most common psychological difficulty reported by youth worldwide and may also be a significant problem for children with visual impairments. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) interventions have proven to be successful in treating childhood anxiety; however, mostly these are not suitable for children with visual impairments, as the materials used are not sufficiently accessible to this population.

 

Objectives: The present study was motivated by the dearth of research on this topic and aimed to examine the effects of a specifically tailored, group-based, universally delivered, CBT intervention for anxiety in children with visual impairments and to examine the influence of three predictor variables (i.e. age, gender and level of visual impairment) on prevention effects.

 

Method: A randomised wait-list control group design with pre-, post- and follow-up intervention measures was employed. The final sample of 52 children (aged 9–14) with varying degrees of visual impairment received the anxiety intervention. Participants were followed over a course of 10 months during which their anxiety symptoms were assessed quantitatively at four time points (T1–T4).

 

Results: The results indicated that the anxiety intervention did not significantly decrease symptoms of anxiety within the intervention groups. However, the intervention appeared beneficial for girls, younger children and legally blind participants.

 

Conclusion: This study demonstrated how CBT interventions can be adapted for use in children with visual impairments. Results obtained provide a foundation upon which future updated anxiety intervention programmes can be built, meeting the need for further research in this area.

The Complete Guide to Insomnia - and How You Can Manage It

January 2021

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It shares comprehensive information such as:

  • An in-depth look at insomnia: what causes it, the different kinds of insomnia, and its effects on health and wellbeing.
  • Advice for managing insomnia effectively with stress management and relaxation techniques, proper diet and exercise, good sleeping environment, CBT, and mindfulness meditation.
  • How certain medications and treatments can affect sleep, the importance of routine for good sleep hygiene, and why you should keep a sleep journal.
  • Links to other useful resources and websites to better understand and develop good sleeping habits.

Living in Chains - Shackling of people with psychosocial disabilities worldwide

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
October 2020

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In order to show the scale and scope of shackling of people with real or perceived psychosocial disabilities worldwide, Human Rights Watch conducted a study of mental health legislation, relevant policies, and practices across 60 countries around the world.

This report includes research and testimonies collected by 16 Human Rights Watch researchers in their own countries. We worked closely with partner organizations to visit private homes and institutions in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Palestine, Russia, the selfdeclared independent state of Somaliland, South Sudan, and Yemen. Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed more than 350 people with psychosocial disabilities, including those who were shackled at the time of research or had been shackled at least once in their lives, and more than 430 family members, caregivers or staff working in institutions, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and other mental health professionals, faith healers, lawyers, government officials, representatives of local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including organizations of persons with disabilities, and disability rights advocates. The testimonies were collected between August 2018 and September 2020 through in-person and phone interviews.

Desk research and consultation with international disability experts was also undertaken

The impact of COVID-19 on disabled people in Northern Ireland

FITZSIMONS, Sean
O'NEILL, Emma
CRAWFORD, Alison
September 2020

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Key findings and recommendations are reported from an online survey published in April 2020 to gather the experiences of disabled people, their families and carers during the COVID-19 outbreak in Northern Ireland. The survey went live on April 1st 2020 and closed on April 30th 2020.  Over 400 survey responses were received, including over 1300 written statements. 

Key findings are reported in the areas of: social care; physical health; mental health and emotional wellbeing; carers; accessing food and medicine; accessing information; employment and training; social security benefits and community support

Employment of young people with mental health conditions: making it work

SUBRAMANIAM, Mythily
ZHANG, Yunjue
SHAHWAN, Shazana
VAINGANKAR, Janhavi Aijt
SATGHARE, Patrika
LIN TEH, Wen
ROYSTONN, Kumarasan
MING JANRIUS GOH, Chong
MANIAM, Yogeswary
LIANG TAN, Zhuan
TAY, Benjamin
VERMA, Swapna
ANN CHONG, Siow
2020

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Purpose: The current study was undertaken to understand and describe the meaning of work as well as the barriers and facilitators perceived by young people with mental health conditions for gaining and maintaining employment.


Materials and Methods: Employing a purposive and maximum variation sampling, 30 young people were recruited and interviewed. The respondents were Singapore residents with a mean age of 26.8 years (SD 1⁄4 4.5, range 20–34years); the majority were males (56.7%), of Chinese ethnicity (63.3%), and employed (73.3%), at the time of the interview. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using inductive the- matic analysis.

 

Results: Three global themes emerged from the analyses of the narratives, which included (i) the mean- ing of employment, (ii) barriers to employment comprising individual, interpersonal and systemic difficul- ties and challenges participants faced while seeking and sustaining employment and (iii) facilitators of employment that consisted of individual and interpersonal factors that had helped the young persons to gain and maintain employment.

 

Conclusions: Stigma and discrimination emerged as one of the most frequently mentioned employment barriers. These barriers are not insurmountable and can be overcome both through legislation as well as through the training and support of young people with mental health conditions.

Towards healthier homes in humanitarian settings

WEBB, Sue
WEINSTEIN SHEFFIELD, Emma
FLINN, Bill
August 2020

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Proceedings of the Multi-sectoral Shelter & Health Learning Day 14th May 2020

The Shelter and Health Multi-sectoral Learning Day was hosted online by Oxford Brookes University’s Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) and CARE International UK, on 14th May 2020. Instigated and led by the ‘Self-recovery from Humanitarian Crisis’ research group, the Learning Day aimed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge about the connections between housing and health, in order to inform humanitarian action and enhance the wellbeing of crisis-affected populations. 

COVID-19, Amplifying Voices: Our Lives, Our Say: Learning from COVID-19 through the experiences of blind and partially sighted persons across the world

ZAYED, Yana
et al
August 2020

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The World Blind Union (WBU) conducted a study to examine the extent to which COVID-19 pandemic has exposed some deep structural inequalities in society. Data gathered from the study is evidencing that persons with disabilities, older persons, and persons from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds are among those hardest hit by the pandemic. While this report puts a spotlight on the voices of blind and partially sighted persons, many of the experiences shared strongly resonate with numerous other studies that are also highlighting how marginalised groups have been affected by this crisis. Through this report, WBU hopes to raise awareness on the specifics of what those challenges have meant in reality for its constituents, as well as shed light on what have been effective resilience strategies for them. The study was made possible with the support of CBM Global

To understand the situation of our constituents, the World Blind Union (WBU) conducted a global survey in collaboration with key stakeholders. In April 2020, the WBU launched an open online survey for seven weeks in Spanish, French and English, seeking information from blind and partially sighted persons on how COVID-19 was impacting their day to day life. 853 people participated in the survey. The respondents expressed in their own words how their lives had been and continue to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This report is a compilation of those voices. It depicts the ways in which COVID-19 response measures taken by state and non-state actors have created additional barriers and challenges for blind and partially sighted people. It also includes powerful testimonies on how people have shown resilience in the face of adversity.

 

 

What do we know about how to support mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic from past infectious disease epidemics?

QURESH, Onaiza
SCHERER, Nathaniel
July 2020

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The question and the problem:

Symptoms of mental ill-health are common during widespread outbreak of an infectious disease, with high rates of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reported during recent epidemics, such as the recent Ebola crises and SARS-CoV-1. Elevated symptoms of mental ill-health are not limited to patients only, and are seen in healthcare workers, family members and indeed more widely across the general population. Early evidence coming from the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates high rates of mental ill-health and mental health service provision is needed. This evidence brief summarises evidence on mental health support during COVID-19 and other recent pandemics, informing policy and practice during this crisis.

Let’s Talk about COVID-19 and disability. An interactive radio campaign on the livelihoods of people with disabilities in Uganda

LIGHT FOR THE WORLD
July 2020

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In April 2020, Light for the World teamed up with NGO TRAC FM to find out how COVID-19 has affected people with disabilities in Uganda. Through free SMS, basic mobile phone technology and radio talk shows, TRAC FM reaches out to the most remote and excluded people – including people with disabilities. It enables the most marginalised to debate about policies that concern them directly.

From 22nd of April to 19th of May 2020, they worked with TRAC FM to air four polls on Let’s Talk, a specially created radio show. Broadcast on five local stations across the country, the show asked listeners how they were faring under Uganda’s lockdown. An average of just under 13,000 people responded to each poll question, giving rise to reflections captured in this report that should have wider resonance beyond Uganda.

Findings presented include:

  • Concerns during the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Knowledge and awareness on coronavirus
  • Effect of the lockdown on mental health
  • Effect of the lockdown on livelihoods 

Implementing music therapy through telehealth: considerations for military populations

VAUDREUIL, Rebecca
LANGSTON, Diane G
MAGEE, Wendy L
BETTS, Donna
KASS, Sara
LEVY, Charles
2020

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Purpose

Telehealth provides psychotherapeutic interventions and psychoeducation for remote populations with limited access to in-person behavioural health and/or rehabilitation treatment. The United States Department of Défense and the Veterans Health Administration use telehealth to deliver primary care, medication management, and services including physical, occupational, and speech-language therapies for service members, veterans, and eligible dependents. While creative arts therapies are included in telehealth programming, the existing evidence base focuses on art therapy and dance/movement therapy, with a paucity of information on music therapy.

 

Methods

Discussion of didactic and applied music experiences, clinical, ethical, and technological considerations, and research pertaining to music therapy telehealth addresses this gap through presentation of three case examples. These programmes highlight music therapy telehealth with military-connected populations on a continuum of clinical and community engagement: 1) collaboration between Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and the Acoke Rural Development Initiative in Lira, Uganda; 2) the Semper Sound Cyber Health programme in San Diego, CA; and 3) the integration of music therapy telehealth into Creative Forces®, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Results

These examples illustrate that participants were found to positively respond to music therapy and community music engagement through telehealth, and reported decrease in pain, anxiety, and depression; they endorsed that telehealth was not a deterrent to continued music engagement, requested continued music therapy telehealth sessions, and recommended it to their peers.

 

Conclusions

Knowledge gaps and evolving models of creative arts therapies telehealth for military-connected populations are elucidated, with emphasis on clinical and ethical considerations.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Amid COVID-19

UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS
Ministry of Social Development
Independent Commission for Human Rights
June 2020

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This document make specific recommendations on support and protection to be provided to persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 response, and to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to maintain their active participation as well as to avoid discrimination at all levels against them

‘Education for All’ under lockdown: the path ahead for inclusion of children with disabilities

NATH, Seema
June 2020

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools around the world experience extraordinary times and as education moves online, those who have historically faced marginalisation find themselves facing new challenges to access education. The situation is disproportionately affecting those within marginalised communities in India and across the globe. In education, these disadvantages are amplified for learners with disabilities belonging to low socio-economic backgrounds. Lessons to be learned from schools that are incorporating the principles of inclusion and social justice while approaching these challenges are highlighted.

Association of anxiety and depression with physical and sensory functional difficulties in adults in five population-based surveys in low and middle-income countries

WALLACE, Sarah
MACTAGGART, Islay
MORGON BANKS, Lena
POLACK, Sarah
KUPER, Hannah
June 2020

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The aim of this study was to assess the association between anxiety and depression with physical and sensory functional difficulties, among adults living in five low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

A secondary data analysis was undertaken using population-based disability survey data from five LMICs, including two national surveys (Guatemala, Maldives) and 3 regional/district surveys (Nepal, India, Cameroon). 19,337 participants were sampled in total (range 1,617–7,604 in individual studies). Anxiety, depression, and physical and sensory functional difficulties were assessed using the Washington Group Extended Question Set on Functioning. Age-sex adjusted logistic regression analyses were undertaken to assess the association of anxiety and depression with hearing, visual or mobility functional difficulties.

The findings demonstrated an increased adjusted odds of severe depression and severe anxiety among adults with mobility, hearing and visual functional difficulties in all settings (with ORs ranging from 2.0 to 14.2) except for in relation to hearing loss in India, the Maldives and Cameroon, where no clear association was found. For all settings and types of functional difficulties, there was a stronger association with severe anxiety and depression than with moderate. Both India and Cameroon had higher reported prevalences of physical and sensory functional difficulties compared with Nepal and Guatemala, and weaker associations with anxiety and depression

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